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Daily News

01 / 06 / 2017

 

President Juncker's speech at the "Social partners and employers in dialogue" event in Berlin

President Juncker was in Berlin yesterday at the "Social partners and employers in dialogue" event hosted by the Confederation of German Employers' Association, during which he recalled historical achievements of the EU, notably the single currency, the internal market and peace in Europe: "It is one of the great European successes that we, not the leaders of nations but the nations themselves, have managed to ensure a lasting peace in Europe". President Juncker also spoke about the European Union's future and its current challenges. Speaking of the Paris Climate agreement and EU's commitment to the climate goals, he reiterated that the Paris Agreement is an international treaty with legal obligations: "It's not just about the future of humanity in Europe; above all it's about the future of people elsewhere. 83 countries are at risk of disappearing from the map as sea levels rise, if we are not resolute in initiating the fight against climate change". Speaking of the potential of a digital single market in the EU, President Juncker highlighted that "The future is digital, and we must recognise that and we must move in that direction". He also called for a more efficient defence spending in the EU: "178 weapons systems in Europe – 30 weapons systems in the USA. For a Europe of defence, we must advance something more rational". The full speech in the original language is available here, an English translation will available in the course of the day. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

 

Lutte contre la haine en ligne – L'initiative commune de la Commission et des média sociaux montre des avancées positives

Il y a un an, la Commission européenne et les quatre géants des média sociaux (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et Microsoft) annonçaient un Code de Conduite contre l'incitation illégale à la haine en ligne. Celui-ci comprend entre autres une série d'engagements de ces sociétés visant à combattre la diffusion de tels contenus en Europe. L'évaluation publiée aujourd'hui met en évidence les progrès de ces media sociaux dans leurs engagements. A cette occasion, le Vice-Président Ansip a déclaré: "Notre coopération étroite avec le secteur privé et la société civile dans la lutte contre l'incitation à la haine en ligne porte ses fruits et nous allons redoubler d'efforts. Nous travaillons à une coordination rapprochée entre les différentes initiatives et forums que nous avons initiés avec les plateformes en ligne. Nous apporterons  également plus de clarté et d'efficacité dans les procédures de retrait des contenus illégaux – tout en préservant la liberté d'expression, qui est essentielle." La Commissaire Vĕra Jourová a ajouté:" Les résultats de la deuxième évaluation du Code de Conduite sont encourageants. Les sociétés suppriment actuellement deux fois plus de cas d'incitation à la haine en ligne et plus rapidement qu'il y a six mois. C'est une étape importante qui va dans la bonne direction et qui montre que l'approche de l'auto-régulation peut fonctionner, si tous les acteurs concernés jouent leur rôle (…). Néanmoins, il est aussi important que les sociétés fournissent un meilleur retour d'informations à ceux qui ont signalé des propos illégaux incitant à la haine."En moyenne, les entreprises ont retiré le contenu incitant à la haine en ligne dans 59% des cas, suite aux notifications qui leur avaient été parvenues, par rapport à 28% lors de la première évaluation en décembre 2016. Le nombre de notification analysées en moins de 24 heures s'est amélioré passant de 40% à 51%. La Commission continuera d'évaluer la mise en œuvre du Code de Conduite à l'aide de la société civile. Les entreprises devront encore améliorer la transparence des critères qu'elles utilisent pour analyser le contenu indiqué comme illégal, ainsi que le retour d'informations qu'elles envoient utilisateurs. Ces résultats seront pris en compte dans le travail annoncé dans l'évaluation du Marché unique numérique qui vise à établir des standards minimums pour les mesures de retrait des contenus illégaux. Le communiqué de presse, le Question/Réponse et les résultats complets de l'évaluation se trouvent en ligne.(Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

EU announces financial support for education and vocational training in Greenland

Today, Commissioner Neven Mimica, in charge of International Cooperation and Development, announced new support to Greenland. This support package of €31.6 million, aimed at the education sector, was signed by the Commissioner and the Premier of Greenland, Mr. Kim Kielsen, during an official visit to Nuuk. The European Union remains committed to supporting Greenland's sustainable development, in particular by strengthening its education and vocational training. Commissioner Mimica said: "Education and vocational training are essential ingredients for the diversification of Greenland's economy and the welfare of its people. Through this support of €31.6 million, we will help Greenland to reach concrete results in terms of a better and more highly-educated population and a better-skilled labour force."Quality education is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as it helps to reduce inequalities and empowers people to live more healthy and sustainable lives. The EU support to Greenland is targeting the education sector, notably by supporting Greenland's Education Programme. It is one of the most important education programmes that the EU supports beyond its borders. (For more information: Carlos martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into gas export restrictions from Romania

The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether Romania's gas transmission system operator Transgaz has been hindering gas exports from Romania to other EU Member States. The Commission will investigate whether Transgaz has abused a dominant market position in breach of EU rules. The Commission's antitrust investigation will focus on indications that Transgaz has devised a strategy to restrict gas exports from Romania to other Member States. Transgaz's behaviour, if established, could lead to higher prices and less secure supplies of natural gas by decreasing liquidity on wholesale gas markets in Romania. This behaviour could ultimately harm EU consumers and run counter to the Energy Union objectives of greater integration and increased security of supply in European energy markets. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The Commission is determined to ensure that consumers throughout the EU enjoy secure energy supplies at affordable prices. An integrated and competitive single European energy market is essential in this regard. We therefore need to investigate whether Transgaz has been abusing its dominant position by isolating the Romanian gas market and preventing its integration into the European gas network." A full press release is available online in EN, DE, FR and RO (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Baker Hughes by General Electric

The European Commission has cleared unconditionally under the Merger Regulation the acquisition of Baker Hughes Incorporated by General Electric Company, both of the U.S. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not adversely affect competition in the relevant markets. In particular, the Commission investigated the following markets where the products of both companies compete: (i) onshore electrical submersible pumps used to pump fluids from the wells to the surface, (ii) offshore electrical submersible pumps, and (iii) chemicals used in the refining and petrochemicals industry. The investigation also looked at a number of markets on sensors used in drilling and wireline applications, where GE supplies Baker Hughes and its competitors. The Commission found no competition concerns in relation to other markets where both are active - such as inline inspection services and permanent downhole gauges - or in relation to other vertical relationships. The Commission thus concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise any competition concerns. A full press release is available online in EN, DE and FR) (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 


STATEMENTS

 

Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the election of the new government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn have issued a statement on the on the election of the new government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. “We welcome the vote for the new government led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. The European Union is ready to support the work that the new government, as well as the opposition, will do to constructively implement all parts of the Pržino agreement and the Urgent Reform Priorities We expect all parliamentary parties to put their divisions aside now and work jointly on delivering, from the outset, on a common reform agenda that would benefit the country in its entirety. This is also essential to bring the country back on its European integration path, a process that the citizens clearly want and deserve.” (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

 

Statement on Agreement in principle between Commissioner Vestager and Italian authorities on Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS)

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has reached an agreement in principle with Pier Carlo Padoan, the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, on the restructuring plan of Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) to enable the precautionary recapitalisation of the bank in line with EU rules. This follows intensive and constructive contacts between the Commission, the European Central Bank in its supervisory capacity and the Italian authorities. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: "This solution is a positive step forward for MPS and the Italian banking sector. It would allow Italy to inject capital into MPS as a precaution, in line with EU rules, whilst limiting the burden on Italian taxpayers. MPS will undergo deep restructuring to ensure its viability, including by cleaning its balance sheet from non-performing loans. I hope this will enable MPS to focus on lending to the Italian businesses and support the Italian economy." Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, in charge of financial stability, said: "I am glad that together with the Italian authorities and following close cooperation with the SSM we found a way forward for MPS while respecting the Banking Union rules to safeguard financial stability and limit costs for taxpayers." This agreement in principle is conditional on the parallel confirmation by the ECB in its supervisory capacity that MPS is solvent and meets capital requirements and on Italy obtaining a formal confirmation from private investors that they will purchase the non-performing loans portfolio. The Commission services will now engage with Italy on finalising the details of MPS's final restructuring plan. Italy will need to notify this final restructuring plan, including the commitments by the Italian authorities on how to implement the plan. On this basis, the Commission will adopt its formal decision under EU State aid rules. The full statement is available online. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

19th EU-China Summit to take place in Brussels tomorrow

On Friday 2 June, Brussels will play host to the 19th Summit between the European Union and the People's Republic of China. The European Union will be represented by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. They will be accompanied by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström. China will be represented by the Premier of the People's Republic of China, Li Keqiang, State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi. Relations between the European Union and China have become both broader and deeper in recent years, and the Summit will provide an opportunity for both sides to take stock of a number of achievements since the last summit took place, to look at ways in which they can further increase their cooperation, and to address areas of mutual interest. The Summit is expected to deliver a number of important outcomes, notably on climate change and green energy, as well as in the areas of customs cooperation, competition policy, geographical indications, intellectual property, collaboration in research and innovation projects, tourism, investment facilitation, blue growth, and energy cooperation. These will be revealed at a signing ceremony tomorrow at 12:30. Already this evening, leaders will have an informal preparatory meeting ahead of the Summit, whilst tomorrow morning, President Juncker, Commissioner Malmström and their Chinese counterparts will speak at the 12th EU-China Business Summit. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will attend the High Level Energy Dialogue, which takes place back-to-back to summit.Coverage will be available live on EbS.For more information on EU-China relations, read the factsheet or consult the memo. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359)

 

Development Days to be held in Brussels on 7 June – press accreditation still opened

The 11th edition of the European Development Days, Europe’s leading forum on Development Cooperation, will take place on 7-8 June in Brussels. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will open the conference. The two-days event will feature high-level speakers, including representatives from European and International institutions, as well as several Heads of State or Government from European Member-States and partner countries. This year, the European Development Days will focus on the theme "Investing in Development". The conference will bring over 6,000 participants and experts from the international development community to form and exchange opinions on the future of global development. It will also feature the signing of the European Consensus on Development, a joint strategic document on the future of European development cooperation, agreed by all European institutions and all EU Member States. On this occasion, President Juncker stressed: "Europe is the smallest continent, but it is also the richest. And as the richest, we have to help others not so fortunate in the lottery of birth to catch up. Development aid is a word of the past. It is about partnership, not aid. And it is time we invested more in that partnership." For journalists' accreditation, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (For more information: Carlos martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Vice-PresidentDombrovskis: European Semester visit to Sofia

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, will be in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Friday. He will hold a number of meetings related to economic and social affairs in the context of the European Semester of economic policy coordination. Vice-President Dombrovskis will meet the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Biser Petkov as well as Dimitar Radev, Governor of the Bulgarian National Bank. On Friday, the Vice-President will deliver a speech and participate at the high-level policy discussion at the "Presentation of the Country-Specific Recommendations for Bulgaria in the Framework of the European Semester 2017" organised by the Commission Representation in Sofia. The visit to Bulgaria is part of the regular dialogue with Member States on topical economic and social issues in the context of the European Semester. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Juliana Dahl – Tel.: +32 229 59914) 

 

Le vice-président Ansip à Vienne pour discuter des initiatives sur l'administration électronique et des défis sociaux à l'ère numérique

Le vice-président chargé du marché unique numérique, Andrus Ansip, se rend aujourd'hui à Vienne, en Autriche, pour participer à plusieurs débats sur le développement de l'administration en ligne ainsi que sur la stratégie européenne pour un marché unique numérique. Cet après-midi, il rencontrera des membres du Parlement autrichien et participera ensuite à la session eGovTech, où les responsables politiques débattront avec des startups de l'avenir numérique des administrations publiques. Le vice-président Ansip participera également au Pioneers Festival 2017 - une conférence qui accueillera notamment des entrepreneurs numériques et des investisseurs actifs dans des projets liés à l'innovation pour discuter des défis sociaux à l'ère numérique. En marge de la conférence, le vice-président rencontrera le ministre autrichien de la Science, de la Recherche et de l'Economie Harald Mahrer et visitera le stand #investEU au festival. Demain, le vice-président rencontrera le secrétaire d'Etat autrichien responsable de la numérisation, Muna Duzdar, pour discuter de l'administration en ligne et du plan d'action européen destiné à la développer ainsi que de la mise en œuvre des projets Trust Services et eID. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel.: +32 2 296 70 83; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 2 295 06 98)

 

Commissioner Hogan discusses digital future of Agriculture and takes part in Citizens' Dialogue

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan is today in Kilkenny, Ireland to participate at a seminar on 'Digital Innovation Hubs for Agriculture' organised by the European Innovation Partnership and the European Commission. This event brings together stakeholders and policy makers to share their knowledge and expertise in creating digital solutions for the agricultural sector. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) developers and agricultural businesses are keen to assess which technologies, such as big data, robotics and artificial intelligence, could help the sector meet the current challenge of ‘producing more with less’. Commissioner Hogan said on the occasion: "I believe that farmers are by their very nature entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators. The use of digitisation can contribute in a very real way to the improved competitiveness, sustainability and environmental responsibility of farming in Europe. Smart farming systems can help the farmer to make better decisions and promote more efficient farm management." Later today, the Commissioner engages in the 237th Citizens' Dialogue of the Juncker Commission, which concentrates on the development of the Common Agricultural Policy and the future of Europe. He will be joined on stage by Ms Thia Henessy, Professor for Food Business and Development at the University College Cork. The Citizens' Dialogue, for which about 150 citizens are expected, will be streamed live here as of 14:30 at local time. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52509)

 

Commissioner King in Helsinki and Stockholm

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will be in Helsinki today and Stockholm tomorrow to discuss issues related to security; in particular the importance of strengthening EU-wide data systems and interoperability as well as cybersecurity, counter-terrorism and radicalisation. In Helsinki he will meet Ms Paula Risikko, Finnish Minister of the Interior, and Mr Jori Arvonen, ‎Under Secretary of State for EU Affairs, at the Office of the Prime Minister to discuss the new European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. Later in the day, Commissioner King will visit the Finnish Cybercrime Centre. A press conference with Minister Risikko will take place at 16:00 today. In Stockholm, Commissioner King will meet Mr Anders Ygeman, Swedish Minister for Home Affairs, to address issues related to cybersecurity and interoperability. He will also pay a visit the Swedish Parliament and later in the day meet, amongst others, State Secretary Mr Per Olsson Fridh and Ms Anna Carlstedt, the National Coordinator against violent extremism, to discuss issues around radicalisation. The full agenda of the meetings is available in the Commissioners' weekly activities. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 2 298 67 64; Katarzyna Kolanko: +32 2 296 34 44)

 

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)